UPDATE, 3/15: The Colorado House of Representatives passed HB-1279 along party lines, and it will now advance to the Senate. Democrats hold a majority in the Senate, making it likely to pass there as well, and Gov. Jared Polis has already indicated he will sign the bill into law should it clear the state legislature.
UPDATE, 3/10, 3:12p EST: According to the Durango Herald, the bill has advanced out of committee: “After a nearly 14-hour hearing, the House Health and Insurance Committee voted 7 to 4 to approve HB-1279, referring it to the full House of Representatives for a vote. The “no” votes belonged to the four Republicans on the committee, while Democrats were in favor.”
3/10/22: A bill under consideration in Colorado could legalize a woman’s right to leave her newborn child to die or allow for the acting “doctor” to take action to kill the child. This has far-reaching, horrific consequences.
House Bill 22-1279 is known as the “Reproductive Health Equity Act,” but it has nothing to do with health; intentionally killing a preborn child is never medically necessary. As reported by Axios, the bill is a direct response to the pro-life bills that have passed in states like Texas, Mississippi, and Florida, which restrict abortion access to different points in the pregnancy. Mississippi’s law to restrict abortion to prior to 15 weeks is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court. When the decision is handed down in June, it could mean that Roe v. Wade is altered, overturned, or left in place.
Though abortion proponents have long mocked the idea of abortion survivors, the reality is that babies do survive abortions. Some are saved by compassionate medical professionals, while others are left to die. Colorado’s bill would legalize the deaths of these newborns by both inaction and action. In addition to prohibiting anyone from “restricting, interfering with, or discriminating against an individual’s fundamental right […] to have an abortion,” the bill would prohibit state and local public entities from:
Depriving, through prosecution, punishment, or other means, an individual of the individual’s right to act or refrain from acting during the individual’s own pregnancy based on the potential, actual, or perceived impact on the pregnancy, the pregnancy’s outcomes, or on the pregnant individual’s health. (emphasis added)
In short, this bill could force medical professionals to commit or participate in abortions, and let a newborn baby die if the mother wishes. Of course, a common, natural “outcome” of pregnancy is that a person is born alive. This wouldn’t necessarily affect abortion survivors alone, but could also affect babies born with a disability or genetic condition that had not been discovered during pregnancy. Wrongful birth lawsuits have been filed against doctors who did not accurately diagnose a child while she was still in the womb, and therefore, the parents felt they lost the opportunity to abort their child. This bill could allow those parents to “abort” their child after birth — infanticide.
“If Colorado House Bill 1279 were to become law, children outside the womb could be legally left to die if they survive an abortion attempt,” explained Live Action’s Director of Government Affairs, Noah Brandt. “The intended outcome for every abortion is a dead human child, but abortionists are not always successful in their efforts. On occasion, especially during attempted abortions of preborn children in the third trimester of pregnancy, a child can be delivered and born alive during the attempted abortion. Under the rules proposed by this bill, if a child is delivered alive during an abortion the doctors are under no legal compulsion to provide standard medical care as they would in any other circumstance and attempt to preserve the child’s life. Medical providers would listen to the mother’s instructions. which could include not providing life-sustaining medical care to the child, which would lead to the child’s death, which most reasonable people would consider infanticide. State legislatures must focus on supporting families, not destroying their youngest members.”
The act also clearly states that “a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of the state.” Colorado is in position to deny all rights to an entire group of human beings. The bill also includes a safety clause that states the legislators believe “this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety.”
It is shocking to imagine that state leaders believe they are acting to preserve public peace, health, and safety by ensuring that newborns can be killed, and ensuring that doctors who have vowed to save lives would instead be forced to end them.
Editor’s Note, 3/10/22: This post has been updated since original publication.
Editor’s Note, 3/15/22: This post has been updated with a quote from Noah Brandt for clarification.
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